I'm with raitchison (excluding his government overthrowing thing) and npaladin2000 - the current gun laws are doing a great job in keeping guns out of the hands of people who would use them responsibily.
It is sad that guns have any use at all - but they definintely have a place for self defense in the US. I loathe to think that what Michael Moore showed in his "Columbine" movie was accurate - but it does seem true that guns are more pervasive and influencial here in the US than in Canada and most of the EU. Trully, I feel that people in the US have an innate fear of the next person.
I have bought two handguns. The first was because I wanted to take up shooting as a hobby. The second was a combination of continuing that hobby while also wanting to feel more safe. Unfortunately, I've taken a lot of flak form people who think that owning a gun means you will commit a crime or injure an innocent. They think that guns are designed to shoot people - so why have a gun? I don't dream of the day that I get to take someone down who is robbing me - but I want to have the option of defending myself legally.
Gun safety and understanding safety are paramount to most gun owners who legally purchase and use their weapon. I think we would all be better off being responsible people than just "sheltered" people who casually remain victims because some people think we're safer if we are kept ignorant and restricted. It really is a "point of view" discussion. I am not a NRA member... I don't know any militia wackos who hang out at gun shows. But, I do feel that those who want to use guns for evil will - and those laws keeping us defenseless only serve to make us better victims.
Until about 3 weeks ago - I had lived in Kansas for many years. Kansas has a very peculiar perspective to guns.
1) You cannot conceal-carry a gun for use in self defense
2) You cannot use a gun to defend your home unless you unload your clip into an armed burgler
3) You can get a gun in 30 minutes if you have a clean record and no criminal history
4) You can get a gun in 30 minutes on the street if you have $150... you can buy bullets at Wal-Mart, sporting shops, pawn shops, or gun shops.
I remember reading a statistic that - on average - about 5% of people in Kansas carried a gun in public illegaly. They based this on the number of reported (and estimated un-reported) situations where someone was found with a gun on ther person or improperly "stored" in their car in Kansas.
I think the statistic is must higher in "gun friendly" states like Texas and Indiana (where I'm at now). I believe the statistic was around 30% for people who had access to a gun in public legally and an additional 5% who had access to a gun in public illegally.
I remember talking to a liberal lawyer who thought that the gun laws in Kansas were not strict enough. They wanted all gun ownership to be restricted and for all gun owners to be registered. Gun licenses would be very expensive and "difficult" to posess. She said that Kansas needs to be as "unlike" Texas as possible. She gave this silly example (but one that most gun haters seem to share):
Imagine you're at a sporting event with 60,000. Do you really feel safer knowing that 18,000 of the people around you have a gun on their person? No one should have guns, they are not safe!!
I think, that if there were 60,000 people - and 0 people have guns; then that would be the best. But, it is naive to think that if you make guns illegal - then no one will have guns. I am more scared to think that 3,000 people in a stadium of 60,000 have guns illegally, and that the remaining 57,000 would not be allowed to protect themself from the 3,000 who don't care for the law.
Of course, most stadiums have a strong security prescence, so this is a stupid example. But - what about a town of 120,000 people? Keeping citizens from properly using guns does not prevent the issue of people using guns illegally.
While I see the motive for gun laws - they do not help the people in a safe manner. Simply keeping guns out of the hands of responsible people does not prevent victimization of the population. Instead, the government should take strides to provide education and training for the people. Those who feel "safe" all the time are lucky. You are lucky if your town is Mayberry and you know your safety is scripted forever and you have no threat of violence. However, most of us are not so lucky.